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Challenging drive across Lower Mustang to Muktinath

Author: TG Contributor
Date: 2020-01-04

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The first thing we did every morning was to check the vehicle thoroughly for engine oil level, tyre pressure, any possible tyre air leaks, usual wear and tear inspection amongst other things. 'Lead rolling...Adventure 1 rolling...Sweep rolling' squeaked the radio as we started from Kathmandu towards Pokhara. These are well connected cities with paved roads, so it was a pretty straight-forward drive. But still, we had to be cautious while navigating through the narrow lanes with traffic in a new country.

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The next day, the traffic and roads started to disappear on the way to Kalopani through Beini. At times, there would be so much dust that the vehicles in front would barely be visible. Moreover, it was quite sunny while we were traversing the road along the river Kali Gandaki. But then, sudden showers not only settled the dust but also greeted us with a double rainbow. The spectacular sight kept us content despite the paths getting worse. Post the nice Nepali Thali at Beini for lunch, it was time to engage the 4X4 system of the Thar to 4Low. From here on, we kept on slowly creeping ahead towards Kalopani for the night. A nicely bunched up convoy snaking up the hills at night looked fantastic!

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The following day, an early start to the day meant waking up in the dark with a majestic view of the snow clad mountains which was enough to get us pumped up for our journey. The road conditions remained the same with just a path being carved out in the mountains. There were times when a JCB would clear off a section where there was a fresh landslide. We understood the true meaning of treacherous conditions here.

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Jomsom on the way is where we had to buy loose fuel for the journey ahead towards Muktinath. We were driving really slow but still climbing relatively fast. And in no way we were getting well-acclimatised to the prevailing weather conditions. By early evening, we were back on tarmac to head to Vishnu temple that is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. Temperatures started dipping quicky and in no time, it was bedtime. I can remember having a sleepless night trying to fight the cold with the blanket on. And within a few moments I was fighting back, gasping for air and taking deep breaths for oxygen. That was one long, long night.

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